Sunday, August 30, 2009

On the way back

I often mention my "lists" which include places to visit. quilts shows to see, museums not to miss, and foods I want to make. I also have the crafts and techniques I want to try list which included needle sculpting. So when I found out that Kathy Houser was teaching a workshop for our guild I convinced myself I would be over surgery in time to check needle-sculpting off my list...I was partly right.
(Kathy with her "IGORS")

For once I planned ahead and pulled all the "stuff" needed for the class a month ahead of time and packed it into small easy to carry bags. Since it didn't look like that much sewing/machine work my friend Paula and I agreed to share one machine so we wouldn't have so much stuff to carry around. So of course the day before class I end up in the emergency room with a raging fever...duhh. Post op stinks.

Day of class. Paula isn't feeling well...I not sure...what the heck. After coffee and shower we both decide to try it. I'm glad we did. The space we have workshops in is very bright and large. Each student had their own large table to work on! Kathy is a very patient teacher. Only one of two of us had ever made a doll before so the techniques were new to us.

She had lots of example on hand for inspiration. One of the interesting things is how different each doll came out. My little Autumn sprite is already sitting on the mantle piece (though missing some clothing still...some well placed pumpkins did the trick for the phots shoot!) I think I will try a witch and a santa......
So today I am paying for dragging myself out but the good news is I successfully checked off a list and that is a good thing!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

vintage apron

One of my favorite finds while up in New England last week was a vintage black gingham apron. I have tried to stop myself from starting to join in on the new trend of apron collecting but this one was too cute.

There was a little shop that had several aprons but I limited myself to this one since I know I would never make one like it. Smocking is not my thing! I wonder if this one was put aside for best and that is why it is in such great shape? My aprons are all working aprons and bear the battle scars or chocolate, tomato, and maybe grape stains!
I also brought back some vintage pieces I had left at my Mom's. The crochet edges on these pillowcases are really well done. I like how they look on the bed with my depression era quilts.

Thanks to all of you for you kind comments and your prayers. Surgery went really well...better than any of us expected. I'll be moving a bit slow (and definitely staying away from the rotary cutter) for a few days but hope to be back to "normal" within a week.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Red Sox and quilt stores

At first glance Red Sox and quilt stores may seem an unlikely combination but that is the quickest way of describing my trip to New England last week.
We spent our first few days with my sister and her husband in New Hampshire. First she brought me to Quilted Threads in Henniker. This is a great shop. Checked all the things you look for in a shop - nice folks behind the counter, great selection of fabrics, inspiring samples on the wall, lots of books and patterns conveniently mechanized with the fabrics...I could go on a long time on this store however I will focus on two things - the display of Japanese fabrics and projects just as you walk in the door is totally gorgeous and on the second floor are recently renovated classrooms that any teacher and student would love. Of course we also went over to Merideth to visit Keepsake...still has a great selection of fabrics and had a sale section that I don't remember from last visit (3 years ago!) There were lots of quilt-y gifty things there but I didn't find the mechendizing or organization to be as good as it used to be. It is still worth the visit though....
It was a warm sunny day and even though we were there early the lakeside tables at the restaurant were filling up early. You would think they hadn't had sun all summer (ok, that is almost true...) I think I still like going to Hart's Turkey farm restaurant best but I understand the need for sunshine so dockside it was...
I am originally from New England so am an "honest" Red Sox Fan. My Dh is from Virginia where they did not have a baseball team so as a child he decided to become a Red Sox Fan...if he had picked the Yankees we may never have married (doubtful there would have been a second date!) Anyway, he had never been to Fenway Park so this trip was a big one for him. It had been 10 years since I had been to the park and I am happy to say they have done a great job on it.I also had some fun finds at an antique store but that will have to wait until later. I am having surgury tomorrow so it may be a week until I can get back on the computer. Luckily I have some fun projects all "kitted" up and stacked bedside so I can hopefully stay busy.

(the rug hooked wall hanging on the top of the this blog was made by my sister...isn't it fun! Everytime I visit I get to urge to learn to rughook. Like I need another hobby that comes with a whole new set of "stuff!")

Monday, August 10, 2009

A "look-see"

It is hot...really hot. Too hot to work on the pile of quilts that need binding. Too hot to stand near the ironing board (not that Brownie would give up her place that since it gets her closer to the AC vent in the ceiling.)
So instead of sewing I am sorting some antique and vintage blocks that I haven't unpacked since my move to England (which means I haven't seen them in about 3 years!) Sad to think they have crosses the Atlantic twice without so much as a "look-see."I have been asked what do I do with these blocks. Well since they have never been washed or used they are great examples of what the fabrics really looked like. Just check out how bright that pink flower is!I also use them as inspiration for quilt design and fabric choice. It was my vintage blocks that addicted me to stripes!As I put the blocks away into new boxes, layered with muslin or acid free tissue I am trying to keep better records of what is where so I don't have to go through all of them just to find the one I am looking for (this indigo Martha Washington was on my mind.)

Though playing in blocks is no the worst way to spend a day where the thermometer goes into triple digits!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

This and that

Just when you think your brain is truely fried a little miracle comes along...for me it was this quilt. Last week was a really bad MS week but by Friday I dragged myself out to the LQS for some retail/fabric therapy. Cathy, who owns Quilt Shop on the Corner, asked if I could identify a quilt pattern for her. A local man had brought in this quilt made by his mother and he wanted to give it to his son.

Not feeling very confident I said yes. When she showed me the photo it was like having a finger snap in the brain...Trail....Indian I knew I was close. I told her I would check Brackman's Enclyclopedia when I got home (for which Cathy called me a Quilt Geek...ok, it fits....) Anyway, halfway home it hit me....Mohawk Trail or China fans. Yay...the painkillers haven't eaten away all of my brain!

I thought I would show a few photos from my quilt guild. One of the things I really like about it is how many styles of quilts and quilting are represented by the members. For instance we have a new self taught quilter who showed this very vintage looking quilt at our last meeting. I'm generally not a yo-yo person but I loved this quilt!
But I also really like the bright and modern look of this quilt (by another quilter) made after a Diane Hires workshop.

Blogger is being difficult with uploading photos today so I will try again later....back to cleaning the house and hopefully putting some quilt binding on!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Note to Self....

"isn't is nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"
Anne of Green Gables

Posting before coffee is such a mistake...hence my second post of the day.

What is worse? I made the same mistake three years ago! I am referring to the block in my earlier post. The first time I made it I turned a 10-1/2 inch block into a 9 inch thinking it made the math easier. It did make it easier but it also made it wrong! (there is another quote in there about simple solutions but I can't come up with it right now....)Anyway, I had even left myself a note. "This is an un-even patch. The center 4-patch finishes at the 4 inches and the corners at 3 inches." Of course in my midnight stitching frenzy did I look at the note...nooooo, I made three blocks just the one that I had the note pinned to reminding me that that block was a mistake!

Please tell me I am not the only one to ever do anything like this!

Radom acts of piecing...

It has been too hot and a bit too stressful to get much sleep in the past week so I have found myself piecing at odd hours of the night...Christmas-y four patches are good "brain-numbers" though I strongly advise against using rotary cutters after 1 am....not that I have had an accident yet but did make a strange slice on a fat quarter and had close call on the index finger (not the best way to trim a fingernail!)

I've also pulled out an old project. A few years ago I helped a local history museum with an exhibit of local antique and vintage quilts. This quilt was made in North Carolina. The owner had a very colorful story about her family being "bootleggers" and pictured her grandmother working on these blocks while she stood lookout. Who knows if it is true but it makes for a great story! The blocks are very scrappy and have a fun layout. It has been on my to "play with" list for awhile.

The original blocks are a strange size...10-1/4 inches? I changed it up to 9 just to make the math easier. I'm using my box of 1-1/2 inch strips a-la-Bonnie and my box of 2-inch squares. the only piece I am cutting from stash are the HST for the corners. Isn't it funny that in my mind this quilt was red and green but when I went back to find the photos of it green to be found! I think I will continue with my current colorway...I am definitely in a green phase at the moment and I was only using the quilt as inspiration not trying to replicate it (that is my story and I'm sticking to it!)

Still working hard to get some quilts ready for our local show in October. Yesterday had a bit of a meltdown. I had the label ready for my husband's red white and blue quilt but when I went to the shelf in my sewing quilt! So I checked the carry-all bag I brought to bee -no quilt. Blood pressure rising I checked my closet, the spare bedroom closet...heck I even checked the cabinets with quilt tops and yardage. No quilt. So during dinner I quietly asked my DH if he had seen the RWB the past few days. Not looking guilty at all he said, "I hid it in the bottom drawer of my dresser...I though you'd lose it." Like I have lost so many quilts in my life! (OK one almost finished quilt top but that may still show up....)

So Bonnie wanted to know if he liked the quilt...what do you think!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

taking a break

Have you ever found yourself so unable to sleep that you just park yourself in your sewing room and randomly run things through the machine? Well that was me last night. I finished a quick table runner with the Christmas fabrics (nothing fancy but it will be covered by food dishes so...) and put the last few rows of a batik around the world...I finally took a break around 0300. Yikes.

Even Brownie was confused...not confused enough to stay out of the way though...
So today I took it easy. I did make some of the Father in law's famous potato salad...that is him above in "his" kichen. (for "his" put in any kitchen in which he is standing!) After ten years of being married to his son he finally gave me the secret recipe. Maybe at 20 years I get his recipe for biscuits and turkey hash?

And finally more peaches...this time of year they are just too good to leave at the farm stand...